Last year, Northern Kentucky mom, Jeannie, worried that her gifted son wasn’t enjoying learning the way a kid ought to.
“He was losing his passion for learning,” she says. And in a family that emphasizes education, a lack of interest in learning was a big deal.
At that time, Jeannie was a Mindful Movement class leader at The Learning Curve Tutoring Center, and owner Sheila Levi was making plans to open a private school for grades 1 – 12 called Union Pointe Academy. The school, co-founded with Jim Skoog (and currently housed at Indiana Wesleyan University’s Florence campus), promises an alternative approach to education, with a focus on individual attention through a staff experienced with gifted kids and others with learning differences. Like other parents who were already familiar with Levi and her tutoring center’s teachers, Jeannie was excited.
Focus on the Child
Kids’ individual learning styles are key at Union Pointe Academy. At the start of the school year, each student receives an Individual Learning Plan (ILP). (Not to be confused with an IEP — the public school term for services provided that support a gifted or challenged student), the ILP supports the students in becoming effective learners through customized summaries of each child’s strengths and interests plus details of educational assessments, required accommodations, and a set of goals.
Jeannie’s math-loving son will study all subjects but have a schedule that builds in math opportunities. He can work ahead if he wants to through Union Pointe’s blended learning approach that combines online learning with face-to-face support from a present teacher.
On top of the ILP, small classes mean students receive plenty of individual attention. Kids with reading issues get one-on-one support through what Levi calls the “school within a school.”
Parents like Melissa — whose second-grader is dyslexic —appreciate the personalized focus.
“Having a teacher practically to yourself, I think anybody would thrive in that situation,” she says. It’s an ideal for teachers, too, adds Levi, explaining that the staff has the chance to help each child learn in his own way rather than having to find common ground between 20 or more students in a single room.
A Flexible Approach
The school offers structure, but also flexibility, Levi says. David and Nora, currently home schooling a dyslexic son take part in Union Pointe’s a la carte program for homeschooling families. They work with their son at home, but also have him in select classes and enrichment activities at Union Pointe.
“They’re not into cookie cutter learning,” David says. “Each cookie is unique. There’s so much in a child that has to come forth, and they see that.”
Levi agrees. She finds tutoring to be one of the best aspects of teaching. “It’s one-on-one, and outside of a child’s parents, being with a teacher might be the only time that some of these kids are ever really heard,” she says. “That’s why tutoring works. But it’s the same thing we’re going to do at school.”